Oslo’s Athletes to Watch

Oslo’s Athletes to Watch


As the ExxonMobil Bislett Games prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in style on Thursday evening, we take a look at some of the key athletes to look out for in the Norwegian capital.

Hosting the sixth stage of the worldwide IAAF Diamond League, Oslo welcomes the crème de la crème of the global elite of track and field on a night which is also hoping to surpass the 70 world record mark in the event’s prestigious 50-year history.

One of the star attractions at the Bislett Stadion will be Ethiopia’s world indoor 3,000m champion, Genzebe Dibaba.

The 24-year-old will be hoping to continue her family’s fine record-breaking tradition in Oslo, as she attacks her elder sister, Tirunesh’s 5,000m world record of 14:11.15 which was established during her 2008 victory in the same venue.

Over twenty seconds faster than her nearest challenger, the 2010 world junior 5,000m champion is also eager to follow in her cousin, Meseret Defar – the double Olympic and world 5,000m champion – who also broke the world best figures with 14:16.63 in 2007.

Having recorded three world indoor records during the space of two weeks during the 2014 winter season with 3:55.17 for 1500m, 8:16,60 for 3,000m and 9:00.48 for two-miles, respectively, Dibaba is eager to translate her indoor form to the outdoor surface this summer, and her 14:19.79 season’s best indicates that she has the capabilities of achieving her historic goal tomorrow.

Another exciting highlight of the meeting is expected to come from the high jump with world indoor champion, Mutaz Essa Barshim aiming for the 22-year-old 2.45m world record held by Cuba’s 1992 Olympic champion, Javier Sotomayor.

The 23-year-old Qatari athlete registered a superb 2.43m in Brussels back in September and has cleared 2.41m in addition to claiming victory in the Shanghai and Eugene IAAF Diamond Leagues already this summer.

The world outdoor silver medallist will face arch-rival, Bogdan Bondarenko of Ukraine is a thrilling duel.

Like Barshim, the 25-year-old will be making his Bislett Games debut, and the world and European champion will look to significantly improve upon his 2.37m season’s best here.

In the 3,000m steeplechase, two-time Olympic and three-time world champion, Ezekiel Kemboi has prepared for an assault on the magical eight-minute barrier.

The 33-year-old Kenyan will be joined by his compatriot and world number two, Jarius Kipchoge Birech in what looks set to be a thrilling battle between both the pair and against the clock.

Meanwhile, in the famous Dream Mile – which concludes the four and a half-hour meeting – Djibouti’s world indoor 1500m champion, Ayanleh Souleiman will do battle with Kenyan duo, Asbel Kiprop – the world outdoor champion – and 2011 world outdoor runner-up, Silas Kiplagat.

With such a strong field assembled for Oslo’s signature event, a sub-3:47 clocking could potentially be on the cards.

The long jump field of competitors boasts an impressive strength in depth, with Russia’s world champion, Aleksandr Menkov, the USA’s 8.27m leaper, Mike Hartfield and Great Britain’s Olympic champion, Greg Rutherford ready to descend on Bislett’s sand-pit.

Olympic and world triple jump champion, Christian Taylor of the USA is an intriguing entrant, with all four men capable of eclipsing the 8.15m mark on the night.

One of the breakthrough stars of the 2015 season so far is the USA’s Jasmine Stowers, courtesy of her 12.35 world leading mark in the 100m hurdles last month.

The 23-year-old will do battle with her American team-mates Queen Harrison and world champion, Brianna Rollins.

Elsewhere, in the 400m hurdles, Jamaica’s Olympic and world fourth-placer, Kaliese Spencer aims for her third consecutive IAAF Diamond League victory, with her nearest challenger likely to be world champion, Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic.

The 100m features world 100m and 200m silver medallist and 2012 Oslo 200m winner, Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast – who recorded a fine 10.81 lifetime best in Eugene last month – in addition to Great Britain’s 11.10 sprinter, Asha Philip and Jamaica’s double Olympic 200m champion and four-time world champion, Veronica Campbell-Brown, who debuts in Oslo.

Finally, the key field event athlete to watch out for will be Germany’s European indoor and outdoor champion, Christina Schwanitz in the shot put.

The 29-year-old has thrown a mighty 20.77m lifetime best this season, which positions her as almost two metres further than the rest of the field.


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